Sunday, March 15, 2009

Taxing Health Care Benefits

The New York Times reports that Obama is "open" to taxing employer provided health benefits.

During the campaign, Obama denounced John McCain's suggestion to tax some employer provided health benefits as “the largest middle-class tax increase in history” but now he seems to be changing his mind. One difference between the McCain plan and the Obama plan is that when McCain suggested it, he also planned to give all families a tax credit to pay for health coverage.

Assuming you have health insurance through your employer, as it now stands, employer contributions to your health coverage are not counted as income.

Obama denounced McCain's plan as a "multitrillion dollar tax hike." I guess now that idea is looking pretty good to him. He has planned to cut the deficit in half, you know.

Many Democrats are opposed to the idea: “It’s a dumb idea,” said Representative Pete Stark of California, chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. “We have to maintain as much as we can of the employer payments.”

Unions aren't so thrilled with the idea either. Alan V. Reuther of the UAW said, “These proposals would represent a tax increase on working families. They would undermine good health care coverage.”

Obama needs the influx of income to help pay for his takeover of the health care system.

Though it's still early in the formation of Obamacare, it is not hard to discern that this administration believes that health care is a right, written into the Constitution, and that nationalized, socialized health care is the way to go. I've already made my own feelings on that known here.

Budget Director Peter Orszag says the idea should "remain on the table."

The question is, what happened to Obama's statement that the middle class would not see a tax increase? "Not one dime" I believe he said. You'll see one with this plan. Even the Democrats can see it.

The point isn't this issue so much, even though the suggestion is troubling, but that all of Obama's statements seem to come with an expiration date. It gives the impression that he's calling the shots as he goes, making it up as he goes along. It doesn't imbue one with a strong sense of security to see such unsteadiness at the helm.

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